MESOP BACKGROUNDER: Tehran to UN — Don’t Pressure Russia and Syria’s Assad Regime

13 Nov 2016 – eaworldview by Scott Lucas – Iran has effectively told the UN to avoid any pressure over Russia and Syria’s Assad regime as they try to force the capitulation of opposition-held eastern Aleppo city. The Iranian Foreign Ministry invited UN envoy Staffan de Mistura to Tehran on Saturday to deliver the message, as its ally Russia both warned of renewed attacks on Aleppo and spoke of possible “humanitarian pauses”.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari told de Mistura: It is very important that the United Nations, which holds an international status, remain impartial in any measure about the Syrian developments and the country’s crisis, and fulfill its essential duty to maintain global peace, stability and security.

Senior UN officials have spoken of the imminent humanitarian crisis in eastern Aleppo city, with 270,000 residents, as Russia and the Assad regime tighten a siege — imposed in late August — and prevent any aid. The officials said on Friday that the last food rations in the opposition-held districts have been distributed.

Members of the Security Council such as France have also spoken of Russia’s complicity with the Assad regime in “war crimes” with bombing that killed more than 600 civilians in a month, until Moscow said on October 18 that it was suspending airstrikes.

However, de Mistura has preferred to focus on calls for rebels to leave Aleppo, playing up the notion — in line with Russian propaganda — of a significant presence of the jihadists of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra) in the east of the city.

Setting aside any reference to the Russian-regime siege, Jaberi Ansari said on Saturday that “the UN needs to pay heed to all aspects of the Syrian crisis, dispatch immediate humanitarian aid to the crisis-hit people, adopt strategies to effectively fight terrorism, and prepare the ground for the Syrians to determine their own future”.

According to Iranian media, de Mistura repeated that his priority is JFS/Nusra: “We call for a halt to all the military activities in eastern and western parts of Aleppo, and we believe that Al-Nusra, as a terrorist group, must definitely leave eastern parts of Aleppo,”